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Bonny

JHK

ratings
63
REVIEWS
44
FOLLOWING
9
FOLLOWERS
37
HELPFUL VOTES
337

  • Angle of Repose

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Wallace Stegner
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    Overall
    (463)
    Performance
    (312)
    Story
    (314)

    Wallace Stegner's uniquely American classic centers on Lyman Ward, a noted historian who relates a fictionalized biography of his pioneer grandparents at a time when he has become estranged from his own family. Through a combination of research, memory, and exaggeration, Ward voices ideas concerning the relationship between history and the present, art and life, parents and children, and husbands and wives.

    Laurene says: "A magnificent novel, beautifully read"
    "Beautiful reading of a terrific book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of my all-time favorite books; I re-read it every few years. This is the first time I've listened to it, Mark Bramhall does a marvelous job with the reading. The characters and their emotions are beautifully rendered without overdoing it. The connection between Lyman Ward (the narrator) and his grandparents, about whom he is writing, is palpable and deeply moving.

    Having listened to this and to Lev Grossman's The Magicians and The Magician King, Mark Bramhall vaults onto my Top Readers List. A beautiful job.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Our Mutual Friend

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (214)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (74)

    A sinister masterpiece, Our Mutual Friend was Dickens' last completed novel. It is perhaps his ultimate vision of a dark, macabre London and the corrupting power of money.

    Erez says: "Worth six stars"
    "Right up there with "A Tale of Two Cities""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was Dickens' last finished novel, and he was at the height of his powers. The plot deals with the death of an heir to a fortune, and the effects of this fortune being settled upon a working-class couple. Along the way we have a couple of love stories, greed, jealousy, mistaken identity and murder. The threads of the plot are woven together beautifully and the characters are very much alive. I didn't want the book to end.

    Simon Vance, as usual, does a superb job with the narration. His reading of the characters brings them to marvelous life. There is plenty of humor in the book, and Vance presents it with exactly the right touch of dryness. And his reading of the darker parts of the novel is extremely effective and affecting. I think this is one of his best narrations.

    On to the next Dickens/Vance audiobook! Perhaps "Little Dorrit."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Alfred Lansing
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2224)
    Performance
    (1552)
    Story
    (1560)

    In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October, 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.

    russell says: "Endurance"
    "Remarkable journey & terrific book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this book several years back, and am so glad I decided to listen to it as well. Today we have rich "athletes" who pay to be shepherded up and down Everest. In 1914 they had the real thing. This is a beautifully-written and narrated book that, despite knowing the outcome and having read it before, kept me on the edge of my seat. Most of the men on the expedition kept diaries which survived the journey, so there is a lot of detail and personal reporting; we get to know many of the men personally.

    Simon Prebble's narration is impeccable: the men are distinctly voiced, and his delivery has just the right amount of drama.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Life & Works - Antonin Dvorak

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jeremy Siepmann
    • Narrated By Jeremy Siepmann, Sean Barrett, Jonathan Keeble, and others
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    One of the best-loved composers of all time, Dvorák rose from rural origins to become not only a great but an influential composer. The first composer to put his native Bohemia on the musical map of the world, he was invited to do the same for America. One result was the famous "New World" Symphony, which made him a household name across the globe. Writing music of irresistible color, lilt and peasant vitality, he was also a melodist-in-a-million. This portrait-in-sound follows a lovable and in many ways a very simple, man from hay cart to imperial palace, from tragic loss to heart-warming joy, to pigeon-raising and world celebrity.

    Bonny says: "Serviceable, lightweight bio with music"
    "Serviceable, lightweight bio with music"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love the format, mixing the text with music. I would have been happy with twice or three times as much of each, and would have preferred more depth. I found the narration over the top; the emotion, the cultured accents, were overdone. At times it felt like a Monty Python sketch. But if you're looking for the basics of Dvorak's life and a taste of his music, it's a good choice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anthony Doerr
    • Narrated By Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (892)
    Performance
    (811)
    Story
    (807)

    Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    Hank Reads! says: "Completely absorbing!"
    "Intensely moving, complex, completely absorbing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I’m finding it hard to put into words how fine and beautiful this novel is. Anthony Doerr has created a stunning book, full of exquisite writing and beautifully-drawn characters. The plot is intricately woven, with several strands that are developed independently, then gradually wind around each other. The book moves forward and backwards in time, always focused on and progressing steadily toward the climax. It is one of the best novels I’ve read about World War II, and possibly the most moving.

    The author writes so comprehensively, with such delicacy and finesse; he creates such vivid circumstances and settings that he doesn’t need to tell us how his characters feel. He lays the framework: we know the characters, we experience their lives with them, and therefore we know how they feel. It is deeply affecting.

    This, like much of the fiction written about World War II, focuses on the suffering and misery of the Jewish people, France, Russia, etc., but here a major theme is also what the Nazis did to themselves and to the German people. They systematically made themselves and their people into monsters, and this is shown in heartbreaking detail. As difficult as that is, the author balances it with humanity, courage, and love. It's not a depressing book, not in the least, but it's not an easy feel-good read; there is a great deal of complexity here.

    The narration is beautifully done by Zach Appelman, who seems to be quite new to audiobooks. His delivery has just the right amount of feeling. He doesn’t over-emote or over-dramatize the material. He mispronounces a few words, but other than that, the narration is flawless.

    It’s a wonderful, engaging, utterly absorbing, highly moving listen. I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • An Officer and a Spy: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Robert Harris
    • Narrated By David Rintoul
    Overall
    (297)
    Performance
    (260)
    Story
    (259)

    Paris in 1895: Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, has just been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil's Island, and stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of 20,000. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, the ambitious, intellectual, recently promoted head of the counterespionage agency that Dreyfus had passed secrets to the Germans. At first, Picquart firmly believes in Dreyfus' guilt. But it is not long after Dreyfus is delivered to his desolate prison that Picquart stumbles on information that leads him to suspect that there is still a spy at large in the French military.

    Ryan says: "Top Notch Historical Fiction"
    "Exceptional"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this book out of the library and was so involved in reading it that I bought the audiobook so I could listen as well. This is a fascinating account of the Dreyfus Affair at the turn of the (previous) century in France. We see everything from the viewpoint of Georges Picquart, an army officer who discovered evidence that Dreyfus was innocent and spent years trying to convince his superiors to do something about it. The book is a great spy thriller, doubly effective because it is true. The writing is excellent, the narration as well, and it's difficult to stop listening/reading. In addition to the spy-thriller aspect, the book provides an in-depth look at the political and social condition of France following its defeat by Germany in 1870, and at its Antisemitism. It's a very absorbing book.

    I was not familiar with the narrator, David Rintoul. He sounds so much like Simon Vance that I was convinced this was one of Vance's aliases, but upon googling Rintoul, it appears that he is a separate person. He does a fabulous job with the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Garrison Keillor
    • Narrated By Garrison Keillor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (699)
    Performance
    (441)
    Story
    (442)

    Garrison Keillor's latest book is about the wedding of a girl named Dede Ingebretson, who comes home from California with a guy named Brent. Dede has made a fortune in veterinary aromatherapy; Brent bears a strong resemblance to a man wanted for extortion who's pictured on a poster in the town's post office. Then there's the memorial service for Dede's aunt Evelyn, who led a footloose and adventurous life after the death of her husband 17 years previously.

    A User says: "Brillliant but not lighthearted"
    "Thoroughly enjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I tried reading one of Garrison Keillor's early novels and it didn't hold my interest. Hearing him read this one was lovely; no surprise that I find his work stronger in audio, since he is first and foremost a storyteller. It is like listening to a very long, in-depth News From Lake Wobegon, and it held my interest all the way through. It has everything his monologues do; humor, gentle satire, familiar small-town characters and former townspeople who got out, but it's all developed to a much greater degree, and it works. I'll listen to another one sometime!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Next Life Might Be Kinder

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Howard Norman
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (8)

    Sam Lattimore meets Elizabeth Church in 1970s Halifax, in an art gallery. The sparks are immediate, leading quickly to a marriage that is dear, erotically charged, and brief. In Howard Norman's spellbinding and moving novel, the gleam of the marriage and the circumstances of Elizabeth's murder are revealed in heart-stopping increments. Sam's life afterward is complicated. Sam has begun "seeing" Elizabeth - not only seeing but holding conversations with her, almost every evening, and watching her line up books on a small beach.

    Bonny says: "Definitely worth it"
    "Definitely worth it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Howard Norman hits a number of tones in this book: despite the tragedy of the overall premise (the narrator's wife has been murdered, he has sold their story to a film director, and his wife continues to appear to him), the beginning is almost lighthearted, with a good deal of humor. As the book progresses, Norman retains some of the humor but the tragedy encroaches, and the end is almost heartbreaking. Woven through it all is the character of their marriage and of his wife. It's a very affecting portrait of grief.

    Bronson Pinchot does a lovely job with the narration. I loved his narration of The Child Thief (never would have imagined it was the same person).

    I might add that this book is priced lower than many, and is a great bargain!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Oliver Twist

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (338)
    Performance
    (209)
    Story
    (209)

    After escaping from the dark and dismal workhouse where he was born, Oliver finds himself on the mean streets of Victorian-era London and is unwittingly recruited into a scabrous gang of scheming urchins. In this band of petty thieves, Oliver encounters the extraordinary and vibrant characters who have captured audiences' imaginations for more than 150 years.

    Karen says: "Amazing narration!"
    "Dickens + Simon Vance = Divine"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Oliver Twist is the second novel by Dickens. He was a writer with a huge social conscience, and has a great deal to say with this book. It is as though Dickens has written his heart directly onto the pages. While I find some of it melodramatic and overwritten, the minutely-drawn characters, plot, writing and feeling are more than worth a few wordy passages. It's a deeply affecting story.

    Simon Vance, as usual, inhabits the characters and simply becomes the book. He has a tough line to walk here; the book is an intense plea from the heart, and the narrator could easily overdo it. Vance voices not only the characters but Dickens himself, and his tone is perfect. Slight quibble: I didn't like his voicing of Rose, but that's the only negative I can come up with. It's a marvelous performance of a wonderful book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Temporary Gentleman

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Sebastian Barry
    • Narrated By Frank Grimes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Jack McNulty is a 'temporary gentleman', an Irishman whose commission in the British army in the Second World War was never made permanent. In 1957, in his lodgings in Accra, he sets out to write his story. He is an ordinary man, both petty and heroic, but he has seen extraordinary things. He has wandered the world - as a soldier, an engineer, a UN observer - following his childhood ambition to better himself.

    Bonny says: "Another heartbreaking piece of the puzzle"
    "Another heartbreaking piece of the puzzle"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In a story told by Jack McNulty, the brother of Eneas and Tom McNulty, this beautifully-written book fleshes out the narrator's life and that of his wife Mai, and at the same time fills in gaps in our understanding of the extended family. Barry's The Secret Scripture and The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty are companion novels to The Temporary Gentleman. All are written in staggeringly beautiful prose and are, at times, almost unbearable in their detailing of the tragedy of Ireland's political conflicts, the treatment of women, and, in this book, alcoholism. While telling us of his wife's descent into alcoholism, Jack McNulty reveals even more about himself and his culpability in her situation.

    Frank Grimes does a marvelous job of the narration. These novels by Sebastian Barry (and the ones about the Dunnes: Annie Dunne, A Long, Long Way and On Canaan's Side) are to be listened to and/or read slowly, and savored. They are not all available in audiobook form; I recommend ingesting them in any form you find.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Red Road: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Denise Mina
    • Narrated By Cathleen McCarron
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (78)

    Alex Morrow faces her toughest opponents yet in this brilliant new thriller about criminals, consequences, and convictions. Police detective Alex Morrow has met plenty of unsavory characters in her line of work, but arms dealer Michael Brown ranks among the most brutal and damaged of the criminals she's known. Morrow is serving as a witness in Brown's trial, where the case hinges on his fingerprints found on the guns he sells.

    Bonny says: "Denise Mina does it again"
    "Denise Mina does it again"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've been waiting for this audiobook, and it happened to be released the day I had to start a 2-day solo drive. It got me from NC to Connecticut, then I had a couple of hours until Vermont to think about it. In my book, Denise Mina is right up there with Kate Atkinson in her ability to create a fascinating mystery and write vivid, believable characters. I'm not quite to putting her up there with P.D. James, but I'm considering it. I love the Alex Morrow series in particular; the Paddy Meehan books are darker and more violent. Still excellent, but not as much to my taste. She continues to develop Morrow's character . . . the books have so much more depth than your average lighter-weight mystery. The threads of the multiple plots twine around each other and lead you further until Mina unravels them and you find yourself thrilled with what you've listened to and sad that it's over.

    Cathleen McCarron is a terrific choice for this narration; the characters are spot-on and she has a beautiful delivery. She has only narrated a few audiobooks and I sure hope she'll do more. A real pleasure to listen to.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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